The Badgers took it to the Buckeyes on Sunday, creating a lasting impression of a season that, until this point, had been one of Bo Ryan's least memorable.
Well that was unexpected. Just three days after being swept in their season series with Iowa, the Badgers came out determined to record their first road win over a Top 10 opponent since the 1980 season. It was a well-deserved win, too. You should be proud anytime you hold a player like Jared Sullinger to eight points, not to mention banging through clutch 3's the way Jared Berggren did down the stretch.
Does the win mean anything for the tournament season? Who knows. This would have been an easier post to write had the Badgers lost: "They're flawed; we may as well accept that this team will struggle in the postseason," etc. Instead, they followed arguably their lowest moment of the season with its highest peak, and the conclusion is much less simple. They are flawed -- this likely isn't the year they make it back to the Final Four -- but they are also capable of beating anyone in the country when their shots are falling.
Which isn't that often. But the shots fell on Sunday, and for the moment that is all that matters. The 2011-12 team made its indelible mark, giving us a reason to remember a squad that had been so unmemorable so far this season. That's not to say that the players themselves were not worthy of praise in some way or that the team is bad, just that until now there hadn't been a single game that you could point to and say "Remember that? That was awesome."
That is all this is: a big win, a fun win, but a win that should be digested in and of itself. The Badgers close out the regular season with home games against reeling Minnesota and Illinois teams. Wisconsin should win both, but even if they don't I'm not sure that it will matter. Nothing has yet to really stick to this team, whether positive or negative. They continue to play stellar defense, Jordan Taylor continues to play his heart out, and from time to time they show some aggressiveness in the lane and accuracy from long range. Or don't, and we talk about that too.
And that's it, really. There is no cohesive narrative to this season, nor will there be moving forward. The Badgers will either keep winning, or they won't. Whatever happens may not have anything to do with what occurred Sunday: A moment when the Badgers played well, and we were all happier for it.
If you haven't yet read Phil Mitten's blow-by-blow, you should do so immediately. Be sure to check out the take from OBrienSchofieldismyhero at BT Powerhouse, as well. Here's the Eleven Warriors link for those into the Schadenfreude thing.
Jeff Potrykus offers his late-night thoughts on the game.
And the carousel keeps turning: Brooks Bollinger will join Paul Chryst's staff to coach quarterbacks at Pitt. Meanwhile, Tom Hammock has interviewed with the St. Louis Rams (seriously, what the hell).
Badgers lose Beaver Dam running back R.J. Shelton to the Spartans. Bret Bielema offered him a scholarship as an athlete one week after Michigan State.
Russell Wilson ran a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash on Sunday, and was considered one of the best passers at the Combine. But he's short, so he'll go third-round tops according to John Clayton. I hate the NFL.
Wilson talks about his performance, how Wisconsin benefited him, and how he looks up to Drew Brees for being a fellow dwarf making it in a big man's world.
Wilson hopes to make up for his 4-6 inch handicap at quarterback with things like pinpoint accuracy, speed and elite scrambling ability, and a rocket arm. Seriously hate the NFL.
Nick Toon just edged out Wilson with a time of 4.54 seconds. Bradie Ewing ran 4.76, but I don't think he's selling himself on being fleet of foot anyway. Kevin Zeitler put up 32 reps of 225 lbs. in the bench press, while Peter Konz managed 18 and Josh Oglesby had 22 reps. NFL.com's Combine Tracker has full results from every event so far.
Wrapping up: The NCAA's new kickoff rules kind of suck, but more so for Purdue and Nebraska according to Adam Rittenberg. The new rules might have saved Wisconsin from kickoff return coverage hell last season.